SOMETIMES the musical DNA of a city seeps into your bones.
At first listen the fourth release from London-Leeds-based alt-rock quintet The Long Faces, “Sail Away”, would seem to give no clues. Big, strong, theatrical vocals with a hint of vibrato sit atop complex guitar figures, spiralling away over a twelve-string.
That’s until you learn that the band – vocalist and keyboard player Tom Ball, guitarist Duy Phimasset, bassist Kristina Rhodes, guitarist and violinist Halden Cooke, and drummer Dan Ball – first met and bonded in Canterbury, home of the Soft Machine, Caravan, and more latterly the lovely Syd Arthur.
They said: “There’s something wistfully provincial in a lot of the Kentish music from that particular time. There are some great examples of this in the early demo tapes of The Wilde Flowers, who moved on to bigger things in the shape of Soft Machine, but left behind a blueprint for melodic purity and harmonic surprise.
“‘Sail Away’ manifested itself through a series of jams spanning several years of reinterpretation. We like to think we explored every dimension of that four-bar phrase; we’ve done speed-funk ‘Sail Away’, ‘Sail Away’ via ska punk, even (disastrously) ‘Sail Away’ in a major key.”
And that’s it. Tom’s voice is at once planted in the stagier end of indie – think The Decemberists or early James. Then you start to hear the vibrato of Family’s Roger Chapman; and there’s that melodic intensity, jammed into being.
“Sail Away” serves as a taster for the band’s forthcoming Documentaries EP, which is due to go live on July 24th. The three other tracks for the EP will be finalised over coming weeks.
Hear “Sail Away” below; you can also find the band at https://soundcloud.com/thelongfaces